Tourists Threaten to Sue Antigua and Barbuda Over Mandatory COVID-19 Testing

Tourists Threaten to Sue Antigua and Barbuda Over Mandatory COVID-19 Testing

With the spread of COVID-19 causing new restrictions on air travel, many saw a small ray of hope of enjoying some summer vacations as numerous islands, including Bermuda, Barbados, Jamaica, and others resume leisure tourism. Anitgua and Barbuda resumed international and commercial travel earlier this month with the hopes of restarting the local economy. As travelers begin to arrive on the island, the country has been doing its best to enforce social distancing measures and make sure every traveler is properly tested before entering the country. Now some tourists are threatening to sue the country over its mandatory COVID-19 testing.

According to the Antigua Newsroom, Prime Minister Gaston Browne recently came out to discuss the new COVID-19 protocols and the resistance they have dealt with from travelers entering the country. In the report, Browne revealed that a group of tourists recently threatened the island nation with legal action over the testing requirement on arrival.

“Some guests are saying you don’t have the right to put anything in my nose,” said Brown, according to Caribbean National Weekly. “A number of passengers have become somewhat litigious and we have had inquiries as to whether or not the government has the right to do these invasive swabs of passengers coming to the country,” Browne said

“This news comes many islands that reopened and most recently Jamaica has reported a spike in coronavirus cases again due to the recent wave of travelers coming in after the island resumed leisure tourism on June 15th.  “We also have a situation too, in which several of the guests, who actually had tested positive for COVID…changed their flights and returned to the United States the following day even though they were placed in isolation,” he explained.

The government has recently announced that it will allow visitors tested before arriving so they don’t have to be tested again upon arrival in the airport. “So for example on Monday, we will have the students (returning from Cuba) who have been clamouring to come back home,” he added.

“There is a special charter to bring them back home, but we have already communicated to them that they will have to do a COVID test and they will have to be negative in order to return home. Anyone of them who proves to be positive will not be eligible to come back on that flight.”